The resurgent Montreal Canadiens look to sweep the home-and-home series and extend their winning streak to five games when they host the struggling Detroit Red Wings on Saturday night. The Canadiens have allowed only five goals during their streak - with former Hart Trophy winner Carey Price back in net for all four - after knocking off the Red Wings in Detroit 6-3 on Thursday to climb back to the .500 mark.
“We can’t stop here,” Montreal right wing Brendan Gallagher told reporters after scoring twice Thursday. “We get these guys again next game and that’s just as important as this one. We can’t afford to get complacent.” The Canadiens have recorded 14 goals during the winning streak and begin a five-game homestand against the Red Wings, who are winless in their last six contests (0-3-3) and have allowed 26 tallies during the slide. Detroit has dropped out of playoff position with the slump and has had trouble taking its opponents best shots after putting together a promising 6-2-1 stretch. “I said to the guys (Friday) it’s hard to win a fight if you can’t take a punch,” Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill told the Detroit Free Press. “The last two games, we didn’t take those punches well enough.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, FSN Detroit, TVA, Sportsnet (Montreal)
ABOUT THE RED WINGS (10-11-5): Captain Henrik Zetterberg started the season fast with four goals in the first seven games, but the veteran forward has not hit the back of the next in the last 19 contests. Anthony Mantha, who has two goals and an assist in the past three games, shares the team lead with Dylan Larkin (no goals, six contests) at 22 points while defenseman Mike Green has only one of his 18 points in the past seven outings. Forward Martin Frk (groin), who owns nine points in 18 games, could return to the lineup Saturday after missing almost three weeks.
ABOUT THE CANADIENS (12-12-3): With All-Star defenseman Shea Weber missing his sixth consecutive game and No. 1 center Jonathan Drouin sitting out Thursday because of lower-body injuries, several players made their presence known. Gallagher snuck past Drouin (17 points) for the team lead with 18 after notching three Thursday while 10 others hit the scoresheet. “You not only want it, you need it,” Montreal coach Claude Julien told reporters. “Over the course of the season, injuries are going to part of it and when you can step up in the absence of some key players, it’s a good sign.”
1. Detroit LW Tomas Tatar registered four goals in the last seven games and is second on the team with eight behind Mantha (12).
2. Montreal captain LW Max Pacioretty recorded four points in the past three contests after suffering a six-game drought.
3. The Canadiens have at least a point in six of the last seven meetings (5-1-1), but the Red Wings won 2-1 in overtime at Montreal last March.
PREDICTION: Canadiens 4, Red Wings 2